You often don’t realize how much you use your leaf blower until it stops working. It’s a convenient tool to have on hand that is used for more than just leaf cleanup.
A Troy-Bilt leaf blower may start and then die when the engine doesn’t receive sufficient air, fuel, or spark.
This may be caused by a dirty air filter, plugged spark arrestor, clogged fuel line, plugged fuel filter, dirty spark plug, dirty carburetor, bad fuel tank vent, or bad fuel.
Keep reading for additional items that can cause a leaf blower to die. Before working on your Troy-Bilt blower, follow all safety precautions provided in the operator’s manual.
Wait for the engine to cool and remove the spark plug wire before beginning any repairs.
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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
Reasons Your Troy-Bilt Leaf Blower Starts Then Dies
1. Incorrect Choke Setting
Your Troy-Bilt leaf blower requires a rich fuel mixture to start a cold engine. This means it needs more fuel and less air. This is achieved using the choke lever to close the choke to restrict airflow.
Once the engine warms up, the choke must be placed in the off/open position so the blower continues to run.
When the choke isn’t adjusted to the open position, your Troy-Bilt will die after you start it because it isn’t getting sufficient air to stay running.
2. Plugged Air Filter
Another item that can keep your leaf blower from getting sufficient air is a dirty air filter. The air filter is essential to keep dirt and debris from entering the air intake and causing engine wear.
Because operating a leaf blower creates very dusty and dirty conditions, I recommend replacing the air filter once a year. You’ll also have to remove the air filter and clean it regularly in between replacements.
When using it in very dusty condition or more than the average homeowner, you need to perform these cleanings and replacements more frequently.
If you neglect cleaning and replacing this filter, it can become so dirty and plugged with dirt that a good flow of air is no longer able to pass through the filter.
A lack of good airflow will cause your Troy-Bilt leaf blower to bog down and possibly quit running.
Follow the instructions below to clean a primary foam air filter. If you are not sure what type of filter is used on your Troy-Bilt or if a different style filter is used, consult your operator’s manual for cleaning instructions.
Clean a Troy-Bilt foam primary filter:
- Remove the foam filter from the air filter housing.
- Wipe out any dirt remaining in the housing and cover. Don’t allow dirt to fall into the air intake.
- Wash the foam filter with water and mild dish detergent.
- Rinse until the water runs clear. Ring the water out of the filter and lay it flat to dry.
- Once dry, cover the filter with an SAE 30 engine oil and squeeze out any excess oil. You don’t want it to be dripping with oil. (Only add oil to foam filters that are used as the main filter. If your filter is a pre-filter used in combination with a paper air filter, do not add oil. This will damage the paper filter).
- Install the foam air filter.
- Reattach the air filter cover.
3. Old or Wrong Fuel
Using the wrong type of fuel or old fuel can cause a leaf blower to die after it’s been running for a while. It’s best to consume fuel within 30 days of purchase to prevent fuel restrictions resulting from old gas.
When fuel ages, it leaves behind varnish and gummy substances that can restrict fuel flow and cause the blower to lose power and possibly stop running.
Troy-Bilt leaf blowers with 2-cycle and 4-cycle engines have different fuel requirements.
- Troy-Bilt 2-cycle leaf blowers require a fuel mixture of gasoline and premium air-cooled 2-cycle engine oil. Gas and oil are mixed at a ratio of 40:1.
- Troy-Bilt 4-cycle leaf blowers require a straight gas. Do not mix gas and oil for these types of engines. There will be a separate fill port for SAE 30 engine oil.
Read more about choosing the right fuel and mixing it in This is the Type of Gas and Oil Mix Troy-Bilt Leaf Blowers Use.
Use unleaded gas with a minimum octane rating of 89 and an ethanol content no higher than 10%. Always choose a low ethanol content or ethanol-free fuel as ethanol has a negative effect on a Troy-Bilt’s small engine.
4. Plugged Fuel Filter
Like the air filter keeps dirt out of the air intake, the fuel filter keeps dirt out of the fuel system. The fuel filter is a small cylinder-shaped part you will find attached to the fuel line inside the fuel tank.
It can become clogged when not checked and replaced regularly. A restriction in fuel flow can cause the engine to lose power or stop running.
To avoid a restriction due to a plugged fuel filter, the average homeowner should replace it annually. If you use your Troy-Bilt often, you should check the filter’s condition and replace it more often.
Replace a Troy-Bilt leaf blower fuel filter:
- Wipe around the fuel cap to remove dirt and debris so they don’t fall into the tank.
- Remove the cap.
- Take note of the placement of the filter so you place the new filter in the same position.
- Pull the fuel filter out of the fuel tank. A clean bent wire works well to retrieve the filter.
- Once the filter is out of the tank, remove it from the fuel line. Don’t let go of the fuel line and allow it to drop back inside the fuel tank. Using needle nose pliers to hold the fuel line can help grip the fuel line tighter so it doesn’t slip out of your hand and fall back inside the fuel tank.
- Attach the new fuel filter by inserting the male end into the fuel line and making sure it is securely attached.
- Place the fuel filter back inside the fuel tank.
- Install the fuel cap.
5. Clogged Fuel Line
Old fuel can leave behind gummy deposits that may restrict fuel flow through the fuel lines. When this happens, remove the fuel line and install a new Troy-Bilt fuel line.
If the fuel line appears in good condition, you can attempt to clean out the line using carburetor cleaner to loosen the clog and compressed air to remove the clog.
When inspecting your fuel lines you find them dry and cracked, you should replace the line before it begins leaking or drawing air into the line from a puncture.
6. Plugged Fuel Tank Vent
The fuel tank must be able to vent. Without a vent to allow air to pass through it and into the tank, the tank will form a vacuum. It won’t allow fuel to leave the fuel tank.
If you are not getting sufficient fuel to the carburetor and don’t have a clog in the fuel line or filter, you need to check the vent.
If your Troy-Bilt blower died and doesn’t start, confirm the fuel tank vent is clogged by placing your leaf blower on a level surface. Loosen or remove the fuel cap to allow air into the tank and start the blower.
If the blower starts and runs fine, tighten the fuel cap onto the fuel tank. Run your leaf blower for a little while to see if your problem returns and the leaf blower shuts off.
You may have a plugged fuel vent if the blower dies and the fuel cap needs to be loosened or removed to start it again.
The vent is located in the fuel tank cap on most Troy-Bilt leaf blowers. Replace a clogged cap with a new Troy-Bilt fuel cap.
7. Dirty Carburetor
The carburetor mixes the correct proportion of air and fuel required for your leaf blower to start and continue to run.
The passageways can become clogged and the small components can fail to function correctly which can be the reason the blower stops running.
Old fuel usually plays a part in the carburetor no longer working. You may be able to clean or rebuild the carburetor to get it working again. You will have to replace the Troy-Bilt carburetor if this doesn’t work.
8. Plugged Cooling System
When the engine gets too hot, the blower can shut down. To help keep the Troy-Bilt engine cool, it requires air to circulate around the engine.
Remove all grass clippings, dirt, and debris from around the air intakes and cooling fins that may be preventing air circulation. To do this, first, remove the spark plug and wait for the engine to cool.
Remove the engine cover and remove debris from the cover and around the outside of the cylinder. Clean the cylinder fins and reinstall the engine cover. Continue cleaning the blower to make sure cool air can circulate around the engine.
On a Troy-Bilt backpack leaf blower, remove any debris from the grill between the backpack and blower housing. On a handheld blower, remove the debris from the intake and discharge grill.
9. Carburetor Needs Adjustment
Troy-Bilt sets the carburetor settings at the factory to ensure the blower is getting the fuel-to-air mixture to run at its best. The quality of fuel and high altitudes can affect the carburetor and the settings may need to be adjusted to get a good performance from the engine.
You will find 3 carburetor adjustment screws on your Troy-Bilt leaf blower. The idle speed screw may need to be adjusted to keep your blower running at idle speed.
Troy-Bilt does have some limits to the adjustments you can perform to the carburetor. Many models require a special tool Troy-Bilt certified mechanics have on hand to adjust the high-speed and low-speed screws.
If you continue to have problems with the carburetor, bring your leaf blower to your local Troy-Bilt dealer for assistance with making necessary adjustments. Over-adjusting the carburetor can severely damage the leaf blower.
10. Bad Spark Plug
A dirty or broken spark plug won’t provide the consistent spark needed to run the leaf blower. It may provide intermittent spark causing the saw to lose power and possibly die.
Inspect the condition of the spark plug tip. If it is very dark in color and has a broken porcelain or burnt electrode, the spark plug must be replaced.
You can try to clean the spark plug with a wire brush and reuse it if it’s just a little dirty. I prefer to just replace it. It’s an important part required for your Troy-Bilt to run well and it’s an inexpensive maintenance part.
Make sure the spark plug gap is correct and the spark plug wire is securely attached. These two items can also cause the leaf blower to shut down.
11. Plugged Spark Arrestor
There is a small metal screen that keeps hot exhaust material from shooting out of the leaf blower and causing injury or starting a fire.
This small screen on your muffler will become plugged with a buildup of carbon that will affect how the engine runs.
Disconnect the spark plug wire. Allow the engine to cool. Access the Troy-Bilt blower’s spark arrestor screen and carefully remove it from the blower. Clean it with a metal brush.
If the screen isn’t able to be sufficiently cleaned or you find it is damaged or has a hole in it, replace it with a new spark arrestor screen.
To minimize carbon building up on the spark arrestor quickly, make sure you periodically run your blower at full throttle. Letting your blower idle or run at low speeds for a long time will contribute to a buildup of carbon.
12. Faulty Ignition Coil
After you have confirmed the spark plug is in good condition, check the ignition coil to make sure it is functioning correctly.
The module provides the electrical current to the spark plug to form a spark that ignites the fuel to start and keep your blower running.
When the coil gets hot, the windings on the coil can separate and short out. This will cause your Troy-Bilt leaf blower to lose power, run sluggishly, or stop running when there is an intermittent spark.
A bad ignition module will not be able to provide sufficient voltage to the spark plug.
13. Compression Problem
While pulling the starter recoil rope, you may notice a loss of compression. When the compression is low on a Troy-Bilt leaf blower, the engine may stop running.
This can be the result of worn crankshaft seals, worn piston rings, or damage to the piston.
I recommend taking your leaf blower to a small engine mechanic or your Troy-Bilt dealership for testing and making necessary repairs.
Still Experiencing Problems with Your Troy-Bilt Leaf Blower?
If you’ve gone through the list above and continue to have problems with your blower, check out my guide for troubleshooting and repairing Troy-Bilt blower problems.
Here I provide charts with causes and solutions to the top common problems that develop in a leaf blower. You will find links that explain the issue and solutions in more detail.
To reduce the problems developing the blower and extend its life, perform regular maintenance. This includes cleaning or replacing the air filter, replacing the fuel filter, replacing the sparking plug, and keeping it clean.